Writing in the Belfast Telegraph on his assessment of the main election issues for working people, Party President Michael Donnelly has said,
“This election has been dominated by talk of sectarian pacts, inter-party deals and paper candidates. The major parties have sought to turn the campaign into yet another sectarian headcount, this time based on Brexit and the Border. The reality is that it is about neither.
What really matters to working people in Northern Ireland? Look beyond the political posturing and the electoral rhetoric and you’ll find that daily life is beset by very real, pressing and systemic problems.
This society is more divided now than it was twenty years ago. There has been absolutely no progress towards forging a single united community of working people
There are more than 100,000 children living in poverty. Average wages are lower than ten years ago. We have the second highest level of workless households of all regions in the UK and at least 15,000 people in Northern Ireland are officially homeless.
An increasing number of people on benefits include the working poor: people who are in low paid, part-time work and who have to have their wages topped up by the state. Many thousands of people most of them women are on zero hours contracts.
There is a crisis in education, health and social care. There are cutbacks to social welfare. Funding to culture, the arts and youth services have been very significantly reduced.
In every aspect of social, economic, cultural and community life working class people have been subjected to public expenditure cuts, marginalisation and exclusion. Almost every aspect of our lives from health to education, from housing to leisure and from information to care of the elderly are now commodities to be bought and sold – and profited from.
It is little wonder that the parties responsible want to divert attention by trading on tribal fears.
The Workers Party is committed to the primacy of a socialist, secular, democratic society based on principles of equality and justice.
We stand for the creation of sustainable, well paid jobs, fulfilling and dignified work in safe and healthy conditions. This is one of the key tasks of government.
We reject low-pay and precarious employment, the dismantling of work-place rights, the privatisation of public assets and restrictions on trade union freedom.
We demand a real living wage.
There is sufficient wealth and enough resources to tackle our most pressing issues. Yet the gap between the rich and working people grows relentlessly wider.
The problem is that this wealth and these resources are held in the hands of too few people and are not being used productively to create the growth and jobs we need. Income differences between top earners and those on the lowest wages are now higher than at any time since records began.
Working people and their families never benefit from division or nationalism of whatever colour. Working people need a Workers Party – committed to uniting workers to defend their own interests. This election is an opportunity to affirm that at the ballot box.